After a confrontation with an unstable man at an intersection, a woman becomes the target of his rage.

Cast:  Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Jimmi Simpson, Gabriel Bateman, Austin P. McKenzie

Directors: Derrick Borte
Writers: Carl Ellsworth

In a pure thrill machine ninety-minute roller coaster, Unhinged will surely make you question the next time you think about honking your horn at an intersection. That’s about as a deep as this thriller goes even after an opening credits sequence that’s sets up a much deeper thesis on modern life and all of our new stress-inducing lifestyle choices and obligations. Yes, we’re on social media too much. Yes, we’re always in too much of a rush. Yes, society asks too much of its young people. For another film, interesting leads to take. Unhinged however is just about taking you on a ride with the most bombastic worst-case scenario of ‘man pushed to his limits.’ 

Russell Crowe’s performance is this film. As the aptly credit “The Man” Crowe is a beast hurling through any scene on a six-pack of red bulls and Xanax. For Rachel (Caren Pistorius) and her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) this monster is the worst thing they’ve ever encountered. 

After sitting behind the pickup truck with our Man inside, Rachel lets loose several honks as he fails to leave the intersection after it had turned green. She overtakes him and turns the corner but The Man follows for an apology, one Rachel is not willing to give. A mistake that turns her already stressful day that had included an appointment with her divorce lawyer and attempting to salvage her remaining clients at work, much worse.

What follows is some rather paint-by-numbers thriller writing. But the mediocre script is carried through the goals and for a victory lap thanks to Russell Crowe. You’ve seen films like this, and under another actor this would feel like straight-to-VOD material, but not for Crowe who is giving it his all.

Caren Pistorius is a likeable lead but she’s simply unable to act up to the level of her counterpart and is overshadowed in every scene to the degree you become more interested in seeing The Man survive. Not that I wanted her character to die — but I was seeking a sequel to a movie I hadn’t even finished watching yet. Like all the best horror movie villains, the bad guy was that fun to watch. I hated him in all the best ways. 

Unhinged may not be a Duel or Roadkill, two akin, certainly better films, but it is in the right lane to at least earn a mention. Russell Crowe won’t win any awards for this role but he gives it his all anyway and delivers a fun ride all the way to the credits on the back of his pickup.